Florida couple caught allegedly taping lottery ticket together to claim $1 million prize

The dream of a million-dollar payout quickly turned sour for a Florida couple, whose ill-fated attempt to allegedly deceive the Florida Lottery landed them behind bars.

Kira Enders, 36, and Dakota Jones, 32, were arrested and charged with forgery/alteration of a lottery ticket with intent to defraud, passing a forged/altered state lottery ticket and larceny-grand theft of $100,000 or more after an incident that unfolded in early March, according to an arrest affidavit from the Escamba County Sheriff's Office. 

Enders came into possession of a "winning" lottery ticket and tried to claim her winnings, but it actually wasn't a winning lottery ticket at all, according to deputies and lottery officials. 

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The lottery ticket in question, from the 500X The Cash scratch-off game, displayed obvious alterations, deputies said. It was described as "crudely" pieced together with tape, combining two separate scratch-off tickets torn horizontally and laminated to conceal the alterations.

Enders also filled out the claimant information on the back of the ticket – and acknowledged the fine print that said she would face legal consequences should any of the information be incorrect, the affidavit said. 

Kira Enders was arrested and charged with larceny-grand theft and forgery on April 18, 2024. (Photo: Escamba County Jail)

When Enders presented the ticket to lottery officials, they determined it to be a "non-winner." Approximately a week later, Enders contacted the Florida Lottery for an update and was asked to meet a special agent at the lottery office, where she and Jones were detained and separated for investigation.

The special agent explained that the ticket was fraudulently pieced together, and Enders at first did not remember where she purchased it, but said that the ticket had gotten ripped and wet in the rain while trying to scratch it. She maintained that she was confused about how the two tickets didn't match even though they were pieced together, the affidavit said. 

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"What, they don't go together?" she said, according to the affidavit, adding that "it is insane" and that it "blows her mind."

Jones told deputies that he told his girlfriend not to tape the pieces together or submit it to the Florida Lottery because it "looks ‘jank,'" and also reassured deputies that "they are honest people and they aren't into fraud," the affidavit said. 

Dakota Jones was arrested and charged with larceny-grand theft and forgery on April 16, 2024. (Photo: Escamba County Jail)

It still remains unclear how the ticket came into their possession because they both told deputies two different stories. Jones said they were walking down the street and came across the two separate pieces already ripped, while Enders said she bought it at Winn-Dixie and it ripped when it fell out of her car, according to the affidavit. 

Jones also maintained that he legitimately thought they had won $1 million when they pieced together the ticket. Enders said that she purchased the ticket and her boyfriend might not have known, according to the affidavit. 

"Jones advised that he didn't know it was a crime to bring it to the lottery office but it was not their intentions to get over on the lottery," the affidavit said. 

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Enders said that by taping the ticket together, she thought she was trying to save it, not alter it, according to the affidavit. Jones, however, told deputies that Enders did know that the numbers on the top and bottom of the ticket didn't match. 

Enders also told deputies that her intentions were to share the winnings with her boyfriend, and also open a salon, according to the affidavit. 

At the end of the day, the special agent determined that the way the lottery ticket was taped "usually indicates an attempt to commit fraud," the affidavit said. 

Enders and Jones were taken into custody after being arrested on warrants and they remain in the Escambia County Jail on $20,000 and $17,500 bond, respectively.